Palestinian question off the table as Israel celebrates independence

Palestinian question off the table as Israel celebrates independence
Comment: Israel's existence is assured and Palestinian dreams of independence are even more distant, says Nidal Mohammad Watad.
3 min read
23 Apr, 2015
Israel celebrated its 67th year of independence with displays from the Israeli air force [Getty]

On Wednesday night, Israel started celebrations for its 67th Independence Day.

For Palestinians, the day marks the beginning of Israel's occupation of their homeland.

The celebrations come amid Israeli efforts to push the "existential threat" posed by Iran and its nuclear programme to silence global outrage about its treatment of Palestinians.

On the eve of the independence celebrations the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, remembered dead Israeli soldiers and "the increasing challenges ahead and Israel's growing insistence on survival".

The real security challenges facing Israel are in fact much less apparent.

Israel is no longer engaged in a fight for its existence but rather engaging in vigorous campaign to eliminate the Palestinian people's right to existence.

That is why Israel is now focused on "external challenges and threats" against it, rather than the Palestinians.

They now face a similar situation to the 1991 Madrid conference, which led to the Oslo accords and a reconciliation treaty between Israel and Jordan.

Today, as it celebrates its 67th anniversary, Israel enjoys enough status and power to erase the Palestinian question out of Arab, regional and global agendas.

At the same time, a counter-revolutionary wave has swept through the Arab world, fuelled by the oppressive Syrian regime.

The situation has relieved Israel of a "nightmare" situation of having to confront Arab nations.

Israel claims that moderate Arab states were at risk of "disappearing" replaced by the Islamic State group's "caliphate", or swallowed up by Iran.

Putting forward this scenario, it attempted to get the West to sign up for a joint defensive alliance.

It also tried to get "moderate" Arab nations to join it in a war against political Islam - Hamas in the Palestinian territories, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and the Justice and Development Party in Turkey.

     Since Israel began its campaign against Iran's nuclear programme, Tel Aviv has built up its military prowess.

Most important was its purchase of a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines that could potentially reach the Iranian coasts undetected.

In the past few years, it has been alleged that Israel's diplomatic corps and legion of businessmen and women have reached out to new countries in case international sanctions are imposed against Tel Aviv.

This includes new commercial ties with India and China, even Japan, as well as intensifying its activities around the Horn of Africa, Rwanda and Nigeria.

It seems to be paying off for Israel. When a UN Security Council resolution was put forward last December to declare Palestine "a state under occupation", Rwanda and Nigeria abstained.

As Israel comes under increasing criticism from traditional allies in Europe and the US, Israel is reaching out to new pastures to prevent Palestinians ever shaking off the yoke of oppression.

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of al-Araby al-Jadeed, its editorial board or staff.